What you should know about college financial aid - Marketwatch What you should know about college financial aid - Marketwatch

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What you should know about college financial aid - Marketwatch

What you should know about college financial aid - Marketwatch

By Mara Grbenick

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)—President Barack Obama opposes a push by Congress to double the 3.4% interest rate on federal Stafford student loans, but Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb.com and Finaid.org, has a different message: Let the rate expire in July as currently mandated and increase funding for Pell Grants, which help make college attainable for the neediest students in America.

The U.S. is in a brains race, Kantrowitz says, and, to stay competitive, should devote substantially more resources to smart people who can’t afford college.

In a recent conversation, Kantrowitz offered his take on federal education loan policy and his best advice for students and parents.

Question: What frustrates you most about how the college-aid process works?

Answer: “The financial-aid system, which includes the financial-aid application, the methods for evaluating financial need and the types of aid available, is too complicated. Neither the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) nor the College Board’s CSS/Financial Aid Profile form take into consideration consumer debt held by the student or parents. Student-loan debt is also not treated as offsetting to assets or income and consequently the need analysis overstates ability to pay.

“There are three college-savings plans: 529 college savings plans, prepaid tuition plans and Coverdell education savings accounts. There are three education tax benefits: Hope Scholarship tax credit (also known as the American Opportunity tax credit), lifetime learning tax credit and tuition and fees deduction. There are also too many student-aid programs: For example, there are five different federal loan programs — Perkins, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford, Parent Plus loans, consolidation loans — and they all have different interest rates. It’s too much choice for most people and makes the true cost of college hard to know.”

Q: What should students look for in their college-aid award letters?

A: “In financial-aid award letters, colleges often describe loans as reducing college costs, which is, of course, misleading, because loans do just the opposite—they increase your costs. Also, there’s an important distinction between the net cost, the term used in award letters, and the true cost of college. The net cost of college is the total cost of attendance minus the financial-aid package, which may include a variety of student loans.

“I routinely hear from students who believe they are getting a free ride because the net cost is zero. The net cost is usually the same or similar to the expected family contribution, which may be zero for low-income students. When I look at their financial-aid award letters I see thousands of dollars of student loans and tens of thousands of dollars of Parent Plus loans. That isn’t a free ride.”

Q: What should the goals be, on a national level, to improve financial-aid policy?

A: “In the United States, we are not adequately investing in our greatest resource—students. Public policy can be based on a variety of goals, such as increasing the number of college-capable low-income students who can enroll in and graduate from college, or keeping the U.S. strong in fields that are going to be strategically important (e.g., science, technology, engineering and math) by rewarding academic merit in those fields. Finally, encouraging college graduates to become teachers in those areas will help educate the next generation so public-service loan forgiveness should be a part of the policy.

“More money for loans means less money for grants. Cutting direct investment in education will ultimately hurt us as a nation. The benefits of this investment are not private. Not only do college graduates earn incomes that are 70% to 80% higher than high-school graduates, but bachelor’s degree recipients also pay more than double the federal income tax.”

Q: Why have the interest rates on some federal student loans remained high even though interest rates for other things like cars are quite low? The Direct Plus loan for parents is 7.9% plus a 4% origination fee. The government makes money on it.

A: “The rates are overall a pretty good deal. When you buy a car, the loan is secured with the car. When you buy a house, the mortgage is secured by the home. If you default on a federal student loan, the government cannot repossess your education. Federal student loans are also higher risk, since they are not credit underwritten. Federal student loans have fixed rates, while most other forms of consumer debt have variable rates, rates that have nowhere to go but up. This is why, if you fail to pay your student loans, your wages or even Social Security checks could be garnished up to 15%.

“The interest rate doesn’t matter while you’re in school. It only affects the cost of college after you graduate. Remember that interest rates are unusually low right now because the Federal Reserve is suppressing increases in interest rates through 2014. If interest rates follow past patterns, they will eventually begin to rise by about the same amount they dropped at the start of the credit crisis. Federal student loans have fixed rates, which over time will cost less.”

Manmohan lets the money do the talking - Statesman

Manmohan lets the money do the talking

28 May 2012

India extends $ 500-mILLION line of credit to Myanmar

manash ghosh
NAY PYI TAW, 28 MAY: On the second day of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Myanmar  both India and Myanmar today in an unprecedented move signed a slew of agreements and MOUs covering almost all aspects of their bilateral ties which promise to bring these two neighbouring countries closer than ever before and to not allow their territories to be used by terrorists. But one of the most significant MOUs concerned the granting of $500 million line of credit by India to Myanmar which this country will utilise for upgrading its agriculture, irrigation, rail  transportation and electric power system. After the signing ceremony Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the MOU and  agreements will usher in a new era of cooperation for mutual development. He said India's economic growth was there to help Myanmar to march further on its path of progress.. The captains of the Indian industry like Mr Sunil Mittal  and Mr Navin Jindal, who are part of the Indian  delegation, called the signing of the MOUs a historic event. Both said that this was the right time for the Indian industry to come and invest in Myanmar in a big way. Indian industry should not miss this opportunity to make its contribution to Myanmar's economic and all round growth possible."For Indian investment in Myanmar this is the most opportune time. It's now or never", they said.  
But a more significant MOU signed by both sides concerned the socio-economic development of India-Myanmar border areas. It proposes to bring this geographically strategic isolated area of India's North-east  into sharp development focus and significantly improve its connectivity. The most ambitious project to be undertaken jointly by the two countries along with Thailand involves the construction of a road from Moreh to Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar.  .A land customs station will be opened at Zorinpui in Mizoram to promote border trade between Mizoram and Myanmar. The border trade points on the Indian side will have banking facilities. Border haats like those on the India-Bangladesh border too will be set up along North-east's border with Myanmar. A host of other projects will be taken up on both sides of the India-Myanmar border which will upgrade roads and highways, construct schools and health centres, bridges and promote agriculture related training activities. India has offered assistance for the production of large cardamom in the Naga Self Administered zone in the Naga inhabited areas in Myanmar bordering India's North-east. Both sides have agreed to ensure border  security through cooperation and exchanging intelligence inputs.  India has decided to help Myanmar in higher education and has offered scholarships and fellowships to Myamarese researchers.
The agreements signed by both the countries have attracted snide comments from Beijing.

Indian firms start moving in

NAY PYI TAW, 28 MAY: Private Indian companies have started moving in but the volume of their investment is negligible compared even to those of Thailand and Singapore. India is the fourth largest trade partner of Myanmar (second largest export destination and seventh largest import source) next to Thailand, China and Singapore though it has the potential to be the first. As one Myanmar official put it aptly " We are like long forgotten friends of India which suddenly has discovered that we still exist." The official said it would have made a lot of sense if the Indian Prime Minister had brought with him here some of the North-eastern chief ministers which would have made the outcome of his visit more meaningful and spectacular. After all he had made this unique experiment during his visit to Dhaka last year. A repeat of that would have contributed significantly to the visit's substance and outcome. Because a large part of the last two days’ talks between the leaders of the two countries centred around the improvement of infrastructure,
connectivity and trade between the North-eastern states and the adjoining provinces of Myanmar. mg

Franchitti earns big money for 500 win - WISH-TV

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Dario Franchitti's first win at Indianapolis, in 2007, made him more than just Ashley Judd's husband.

His second win, in 2010, was about pure dominance — he led 155 of the 200 laps.

This year's victory was about standing among the all-time greats. He earned $2,474,280 from an overall purse of $13,285,815 for Sunday's win. The four-time series champion from Scotland became just the 10th driver to win IndyCar's signature event at least three times.

Helio Castroneves, the only other current driver with three wins at Indy, already was promoting next year's race.

"Dario, well done, man," Castroneves said Monday during the victory awards celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Three times. Now, we're going to be racing, so who gets four? That'll be cool, huh? That'll be really cool."

Now that Franchitti has basically done it all, there's only one thing left.


Castroneves won 'Dancing with the Stars,' so a few of the drivers had a little fun with Franchitti now that he's joined Castroneves as a three-time winner.

"Three times," Alex Tagliani said. "I think the drivers think you need to step it up. We think if you come and try to do it four times, you should try 'Dancing with the Stars.' I think that's the only thing you can try to do to step it up."

Castroneves continued the joke.

"You want to do it? I know the people. I have people," he said as Judd gave the cutoff sign.

Franchitti prefers to let his car do the dancing. He started 16th, took the lead for good in the No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda car from his teammate, Scott Dixon, on lap 199. He overcame a spirited passing attempt by Takuma Sato in turn 1 on the final lap. Sato spun and hit the SAFER Barrier while Franchitti hung on to win the race under caution.

Sato explained the reasoning behind his aggressive inside move.

"There's only one podium, which is the winner," Sato said matter-of-factly.

Sato joked that Franchitti wouldn't want to see the No. 15 car next to him in the future.

"I'm small, but I need a little bit more room," Sato said, drawing laughter from Franchitti and a thumbs-up from Judd.

When asked if everything was OK between himself and Franchitti, Sato said "I think so. I hope,'" as Franchitti nodded affirmatively.

Justin Wilson recalled getting hopeful for a moment when he saw that Franchitti and Sato nearly connected.

Then again, it was Franchitti.

"Dario's a wily old cat," Wilson said. "He had something up his sleeve."

Dixon, who won the race in 2008, earned $1,102,280 for finishing second. It was his seventh consecutive top-six finish at Indianapolis.

Franchitti expects a tougher Dixon the rest of the year.

"I'm a little upset here," Franchitti said to Dixon. "I know you're going to come back stronger."

Franchitti's move to elite status nearly didn't happen. E.J. Viso, who rear ended him in the pits early in the race, acknowledged that he was a bit too close.

"Well, it didn't cost him much," Viso said. "Happy, man, that you won the race. You deserve it."

Unfortunately for Franchitti, he learned Monday that three-time winning status often comes with jokes about your age.

"Dario, you are a legend," Ryan Briscoe, the polesitter who finished fifth, said. "You were a legend to me when I was racing go carts."

James Hinchcliffe wouldn't mind if Franchitti opted for early retirement.

"I hope someday, you get sick of all this winning and let the rest of us do it," he joked.

All kidding aside, the theme of the night was the acknowledgement of Franchitti's new place in Indy history.

"You're a legend, in my opinion," fellow driver Ed Carpenter said. "You're up there with the all-time best, and it's an honor to work with you."

Financial crisis: UK can't afford its shopping addiction anymore - Daily Telegraph

It did at one point cross my mind, clutching my three-for-two Christmas ribbon and Per Una underwear on my way to the wine section, that even with 20 per cent off the price of things, that still left 80 per cent to pay.

No matter; I stayed and queued and saved the grand total of £12.50.

When was it that shopping did become a leisure activity, taking over from family, sport, religion, dogs and loafing around with a book as the way people spend their time? More to the point, why did it?

The author Neil Borman, whose book Bonfire of the Brands documented his flight from brand addiction, has released a spoof film about indiscriminate shopping, The Good Consumer.

The voiceover at the start of it declares: "The good consumer is always buying new products. When he is not buying, he is earning money so that he can fund his consumption, or looking for purchases that he can make in future."

Yes, it's heavy handed. But it doesn't feel like a spoof so much as a sober account of the condition of England, recession or not.

A few weeks ago, the retail sector raised a couple of fingers to the credit crunch with the opening of the Westfield shopping centre: two miles worth of expensive shops in a part of London previously known for its proximity to Wormwood Scrubs prison.

The opening was a riot. Another two multi-billion-pound shopping projects kicked off this year – at Liverpool One and Bristol's Cabot Circus – on top of 10 rather smaller shopping-centre openings elsewhere.

And the retail spread is not stopping any time soon; the Westfield developers will be opening another shopping centre on the same scale in Stratford, East London, in 2012.

The recession has clipped our wings, but we're still buying things – although more and more of it is from Primark and Aldi.

Where does it come from, this almost hormonal drive to go shopping, to buy and own more things? Why do we do it?

Men hate it. Children hate it. The shoppers you see in department stores don't give any discernible sign that they're enjoying themselves – bookshops apart. There's something dead around the eyes.

But families will still take themselves off to Bluewater to spend their day of rest – theirs, if not the assistants'.

And if wandering from WH Smith to Scribblers to Boots to Debenham's makes them look like zombies, a working definition of hell would be the shopping centre Christmas sales.

Women queue up at five in the morning to save 50 quid at the Brent Cross Next sales. Why?

The social psychiatrist Oliver James, in his book, Affluenza, squarely attributed much of the high rates of mental illness in Britain and the US to consumerism.

"The Affluenza virus," he says, "is a set of values which increase our vulnerability to psychological distress: placing a high value on acquiring money and possessions... My explanation... is that the virus promotes Having over Being and the confusion (through advertising) of wants with needs."

It wasn't always thus, you know; shopping isn't part of the human condition.

The other week, I was in Walsingham in Norfolk, famous for its shrine to the Virgin Mary. We pottered around the shops after church and before the pub opened – but, this being Sunday, most shops were shut.

And as we browsed the teddy hospital for reclaimed bears and the children's charity shop and the little retail section at the entrance to the priory – three packs of Christmas cards for a pound! – it dawned on me what was missing.

There weren't any chain stores; all the shops appeared to be independent or at least without identical branches in London, Glasgow and Manchester.

The retail equivalent of the M&S discount day will be tomorrow when the Catholic church holds its Christmas (sorry, Advent) Bazaar and the going price for most things will be around two quid.

But then in Walsingham, there is a life that doesn't revolve around shopping: you've got religion, riding, pubs to go to, walks to go on, Women's Institute meetings to attend. Lots of places were once like that.

Funny; it crossed my mind then that the super-luxe section of shops in Westfield is called The Village. Except that village is a parody of the real one.

Tamasin Doe, the former fashion director of Instyle magazine, pinpoints the start of shopaholicism around 25 years ago, during the Eighties, when shopping malls, which had already been around for a decade, began to spread and become a place for the young to hang out. The malls stimulated the collective shopping gland.

"You began," she said, "to be defined by how you shop, and everything else was depleted by it. Everything was defined by acquisition. Shopping became a way to recreate yourself."

The fashion cycle shortened; built-in redundancy became the essence of it, at least for women. The rise of low-cost production in China meant it became cheaper to buy new manufactured goods than to have the old ones repaired.

In fact, for some durables, such as computers, it wasn't actually possible to fix old models; they had to be replaced.

Politics came into it too, notably the 1994 Sunday Shopping Act, which lifted the curbs on Sabbath trading.

It had conscience clauses to prevent people being forced to work on the day of rest, but if you want to hear a not very nice laugh, ask your department-store manicurist or perfume saleswoman whether she can turn down work on Sunday.

At the same time, we got the cult of celebrity. Obviously, there have been pin-ups for the masses – society beauties and cult actors – for well over a century.

But Hello!-style celebdom, being famous for nothing at all, is a comparatively recent phenomenon.

And what celebrities do is shop and be seen to shop and give their endorsement to products that the rest of us can shop for. It's hard to think of images of Wayne Rooney's wife, Colleen, without armfuls of carrier bags.

The symbol and apex of the trend were the It Bags – big, phenomenally ugly handbags that cost from about £300 to £1,500 and had a life cycle of about six months.

Once Britain took to consumerism, it went all the way. Over the past 20 years, the retail sector absorbed 88 million square feet of new space – the equivalent, for those who think in terms of football pitches, of 1,200 of them.

Obviously, you can't have a shopping habit without paying for it – eventually. Because of the liberalisation of credit over the past couple of decades, personal indebtedness is higher in Britain than anywhere in Europe: consumer debt totals £1.5 trillion.

There was a time when, if you wanted to buy something, you had to save up for it. Ten years ago that was seen as almost risibly quaint. Now it looks like rather a sensible thing to do. The demutualisation of the building societies added to the problem.

Don't think I'm being snooty about all this. I was right in there and the upshot in my case is that I have, oh, six credit cards, which cost more to maintain than the baby.

Plainly, the recession has changed things. But only up to a point. One retail analyst, Verdict, estimates that retail-sector growth will fall to 2.4 per cent in 2008 – but that's after 10 years during which average annual growth was about four per cent.

Of the £228 billion we're likely to spend in the shops this year, an estimated £128 million is classed as non-essential, indulgence spending. Even if there's a fall in spending, it's from a very, very high base.

What's the solution? Well, how about going with the grain of the recession, of making do and mending? How about not shopping on Sundays?

Keeping perfectly good clothes even when the fashion roundabout has moved on? Spending time with the family at home? Saving up to buy things?

At the end of all this, we may come to remember that we're more than the sum of our possessions. And that would be a good thing.

Money for miles: More states looking to tolls to pay for highways - News and Tribune.com

WASHINGTON — Driving onto an Interstate highway? Crossing a bridge on the way into work? Taking a tunnel under a river or bay? Get ready to pay.

With Congress unwilling to contemplate an increase in the federal gas tax, motorists are likely to be paying ever more tolls as the government searches for ways to repair and expand the nation’s congested highways.

Tolling is less efficient and sometimes can seem less fair than the main alternative, gasoline taxes. It can increase traffic on side roads as motorists seek to evade paying. Some tolling authorities — often quasi-governmental agencies operating outside the public eye — have been plagued by mismanagement. And some public-private partnerships to build toll roads have drowned in debt because of too-rosy revenue predictions.

Tolls are hardly a perfect solution. But to many states and communities, they’re the best option available.

“It’s very hard in this environment for states to add capacity without charging a toll because they can’t afford to do it,” said Joshua Schank, president of the Eno Center for Transportation, a Washington think tank. “They’re barely able to maintain what they’ve got, and there is an urgent need for capacity.”

Some changes are already under way


In addition to the tolls allowed on Interstates in 15 states, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, the U.S. has agreed to pilot toll projects on Interstate 95 in Virginia and North Carolina and on Interstate 70 in Missouri.

A commission created by Congress to recommend ways to pay for upkeep of the nation’s transportation system predicted in 2009 that the U.S. will face nightmarish congestion unless it spends more. The commission estimated all levels of government were spending a cumulative $137 billion less each year than is necessary to maintain and expand the current system. Without action, there will be a $2 trillion-plus backlog by 2035, it said.

It’s been nearly two decades since Congress last increased the federal gas and diesel taxes that have historically paid for highways. Meanwhile, the cost of road and bridge construction has gone up and the purchasing power of fuel taxes has declined by more than a third. Revenue is also down because people have been driving less due to the uncertain economy and because cars are becoming more fuel-efficient.

Federal and state fuel tax revenues peaked in 2007 at $72.4 billion, then dropped to $68.6 billion in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available. Meanwhile, state toll collections rose from $4.9 billion in 2000 to $8.9 billion in 2010, and locally administered tolls rose from $1.6 billion in 2000 to $2.5 billion in 2009.

The trust fund that pays for federal highway programs is forecast to go broke sometime next year, though the House and Senate are trying to negotiate a bill to shore up the funding and overhaul transportation programs. It’s unclear whether they’ll reach a deal, but if they do, it’s likely to contain only a short-term financial fix. That means lawmakers will be back again, scratching for more.


Tolling is the easiest near-term way to pay the bills, says Robert Atkinson, who chaired the financing commission.

“If you could allow modest tolling on Interstates, you could raise a lot of money,” he said.

Fifteen states, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, that had turnpikes before the 1956 advent of the Interstate system have grandfathered permission to collect tolls on 2,900 miles of the 47,000-mile system. But federal restrictions prevent other states from placing tolls on federal-aid highways except in limited circumstances.

States want Congress to increase their ability to charge tolls and to allow them to use the money for a variety of transportation needs — not just upkeep of the roads where tolls are collected, said Eugene Conti, North Carolina’s transportation secretary, at a Senate hearing last month.

But states also have a history of slapping tolls on roads traveled by a large share of out-of-state motorists. When Pennsylvania applied to put tolls on Interstate 80, a route favored by truckers, the federal government rejected the plan partly because some of the money raised would have gone to support public transit in Philadelphia, even though the highway doesn’t touch the city’s metro area. In 2004, Chicago leased its Skyway, an eight-mile road and bridge, to a private toll operator for 99 years in exchange for $1.8 billion that was used to pay off city debt. The resulting toll increases fell heavily on Indiana commuters who use the road to get to jobs in Chicago.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has introduced a bill to give the secretary of transportation oversight of tolling practices. The financing commission made a similar recommendation.

What to do about tolling isn’t addressed in the highway bill now before Congress because of a standoff earlier this year between senators who favor and oppose easing tolling on Interstate highways. The issue is expected to be revived next year after the retirement of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who has led the opposition to greater tolling.

One concern is that the Interstate system is aging, which means money must be found to repair and replace the roads.

“The roads are out there and we’ve paid off the mortgage, but that doesn’t mean the system is paid for. ... Now the roads are crumbling and we have to upgrade them,” said Patrick Jones, executive director of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, which represents toll facilities.


Some relaxation of the ban is in the works. The Transportation Department has selected the three states — Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri — for pilot toll projects.

Under another program, a $2 billion project now under way would add High Occupancy Toll lanes on Interstate 495 in the Virginia suburbs of Washington. The state can’t afford to build the lanes on its own, but money raised by a private investment partnership and a $586 million federal loan made the project possible.

Motorists who buy an E-ZPass that can be read electronically will be able use the lanes. Toll prices will fluctuate depending on traffic density. If toll lanes are crowded, prices will keep rising until enough motorists decide to remain in the slower lanes. The aim is to give motorists a way to travel quickly, but only if they are willing to pay for it — an idea that has stirred controversy. Cars with three or more passengers will be able to use the lanes without paying.

The administrative costs of tolling are far greater than the gas tax, even when using electronic tolling, said Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst with the private, consumer-oriented U.S. PIRG.

Some tolling agencies could also use “a dose of sunshine,” Baxandall said. Because many are quasi-governmental, public disclosure, open meeting and other transparency rules don’t always apply, he said. As a result, they frequently operate out of public sight, creating opportunities for corruption or manipulation by industry, he said.

According to a report by the New Jersey comptroller in March, cronyism and mismanagement at the Delaware River Port Authority had wasted millions of dollars. The authority operates four bridges, a ferry and a rail line across the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently raised cash fares on six Interstate bridges and tunnels to $12 for cars. By 2015, it will cost a five-axle truck paying cash $105 to cross between New York and New Jersey, three times as much as for any other bridge or tunnel in the country, according to the American Trucking Association. Bill Baroni, the authority’s deputy executive director, told a Senate hearing the fare hikes are necessary to make up for years of neglect and mismanagement.

Despite concerns about more and higher tolls, it’s difficult for lawmakers to tell state and local governments not to pursue greater tolling when Congress isn’t providing a comparable alternative source of funds.

Jones, of the tolling industry association, predicted that as traffic congestion worsens, people “are going to demand, ‘We need better roads, we need more efficiency,’ and they are going to ask for tolling and direct user fees to build the transportation that they need.”

Business Integration Software helps deploy new technologies. - ThomasNet Industrial News Room

The Ottawa Hospital uses IBM technology to help improve patient care

LAS VEGAS -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled a range of new business integration software capabilities designed to help organizations quickly begin incorporating the collaborative and intelligent capabilities of social media, mobile computing and cloud computing into their enterprise applications. (#IBMimpact)

The cornerstone of enabling enterprises to embrace these critical technologies is the new version of IBM WebSphere Application Server. The fastest application server on the market, WebSphere Application Server now provides clients with new flexibility for embedded deployments and is ready for cloud with built in virtualization. This new offering provides the software platform that today powers more than 100,000 clients worldwide.

Complementing WebSphere Application Server is a range of new integration software offerings including:

-- IBM Business Process Manager - Combines new capabilities around social, collaboration, governance and mobile to dramatically improve the way work is done. This allows organizations to gain visibility in the ways they change, manage, measure and improve the processes that run their business.
-- IBM Operational Decision Management - Speeds and simplifies the way that organizations manage the business rules that control a wide range of decisions across business processes and applications. The new "social media" style user interface provides an intuitive environment for collaboration and simplifies searching, viewing and making rule changes.
-- IBM WebSphere Cast Iron Live Web Application Programming Interface (API) Services - Allows companies to extend their services to support the emerging community of developers who are building new social, mobile and cloud applications. This new purpose-built offering provides a comprehensive solution to deliver, socialize and manage business API assets.

The Ottawa Hospital Turns to IBM to Improve Patient Care

One client - The Ottawa Hospital has already begun testing how these new software and services from IBM can dramatically change their business model. Working with IBM, they are building a new system that improves the quality of patient care and helps them to better manage the flow of patients throughout the hospital.

Recently, the hospital had seen a tremendous increase in patients, resulting in higher occupancy rates and ultimately, overcrowding. Additionally, the patients being admitted had complicated and acute symptoms, placing a greater strain on the need for coordinated healthcare delivery. The IBM system provides extensive patient information and hospital resource availability to the clinical staff, via mobile device, at the point of care - speeding both admission and treatment.

"Physicians should be focused on patient care, not be tied up doing lower value activity, like calling for consults or trying to negotiate admission for a patient," said Dale Potter, Senior Vice President & CIO at The Ottawa Hospital. "The concept behind our new system from IBM is that we are able to help our staff have one consolidated view on important data and processes, getting the right information to physicians at the right time."

For example, the attending physician can send an electronic request to the patient's physician for clarification on past diagnosis. The patient's doctor receives the consultation request immediately on their most accessible device - a tablet, smart phone or a computer. They respond directly to the specific consult questions electronically, so the attending physician can correctly diagnose the patient.

The new system builds upon IBM's expertise in the area of Business Process Management (BPM), Operational Decision Management and analytics, and is critical to helping the hospital rethink the manner in which it utilizes its IT infrastructure in order to cut across functional silos and better coordinate care.

A Decade of Leadership

IBM has been the overall marketshare leader in middleware software for eleven consecutive years. In fact, IBM now commands 32.1 percent market share and has extended its lead to nearly double that of its closest competitor. (1)

Key to WebSphere's success within the middleware segment is IBM's continued investment in product performance, a commitment that has once again resulted in industry leading benchmarks. In the first test of its recently announced WebSphere Application Server v8.5, IBM was named world leader in middleware performance as measured by SPECjEnterprise 2010 in EjOPS/processor core which measures efficiency of middleware software servers. Based upon the latest industry standard benchmark results, IBM's middleware software is 16 percent faster than any other vendor's middleware software on equivalent hardware. (2)

These new capabilities are on display at this year's IMPACT conference, which features more than 8,500 attendees and hundreds of client testimonials, presentations, workshops and product demos. For more information, visit: http://www.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressk...

For more information on how IBM is helping clients and partners make smarter, faster decisions and increase their business, visit: http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet

(1) Gartner, Inc., Market Share: All Software Markets, Worldwide, 2011, March 29, 2012

(2) SPEC and SPECjEnterprise 2010 are registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation.

Results from www.spec.org as of 04/29/2012 Oracle Sun Blade X6270 M2 - 452.285 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS/core (equivalent hardware to world record result), Oracle Sun Fire X4170 M3 - 519.386 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS/core (Oracle's best SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS/core result so far). IBM HS 22 Blade - 524.621 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS/core (world record SPECjEnterprise2010 EJOPS/core result)

IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, WebSphere, SmartSOA, Smarter Planet and the planet icon are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. For a current list of IBM trademarks, please see www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml

All other company, product or service names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of others. Statements concerning IBM's future development plans and schedules are made for planning purposes only, and are subject to change or withdrawal without notice. Reseller prices may vary.

Is it time to start your own business? - Daily Telegraph

If you use your car for business, invite clients into your home, offer advice or are the main breadwinner for your family, then you need the appropriate cover. Home-based firms are vulnerable to business disruption, legal claims and damage to property just like site-based ones.

But the message is clear. If you can start a lean business, attract clients and cover yourself against the worst-case scenario, now could be the best time yet to take the plunge into self-employment, regardless of the choppy waters.

What AXA can do for you

AXA’s new website for businesses — axainsurance.com/business — allows start-ups to assess their insurance needs and buy cover in a clear and simple way.

Business owners who want to keep an eye on what they spend can strip out the add-ons and be safe in the knowledge that they have the basics sorted, while others can select add-ons appropriate to their structure and the service they provide — all at the click of a mouse.

Customers decide their own premium and can see at a glance how much various elements of cover cost. This modular approach, written in plain English, is a quick and pain-free way to protect your business, giving you more time to concentrate on your big idea. And for customers who want the comfort of knowing they have all the bases covered at the right level, AXA’s helpline operators are on hand to give you the best advice around the clock.

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